by Jason F. Koenigsberg
So last night we saw the Golden Globes and they played out as expected for the most part. Comedians and winning actors taking shots at Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Donald Trump and others accused of sexual misconduct. All the stars were dressed in black, and no major surprises with the winners. The Golden Globes usually favor bigger name actors and the awards show itself is like a playoff game, or a championship series that leads up to the Academy Awards which is the motion picture equivalent to The World Series, Wrestlemania or the Super Bowl. If last night was any indication here are five things that we can most likely expect to see from the 2018 Academy Awards in about six weeks.
1. If there are ten Best Picture Nominees, Wonder Woman will be the tenth nominated film.
The whole ten nominees thing is really a copout and most Oscar devotees miss the days of only having five Best Picture nominees. Now it feels like less of an accomplishment and more like a consolation prize. But this could be the Academy’s chance to honor a big budget comic book film with its highest honor. The rules state that depending on the final vote totals there can be as few as five and as many as ten Best Picture nominees. In recent years we have often seen eight or nine films make the final cut. It is a long shot, but I would be willing to bet that if there are ten Best Picture nominees at this years Oscars the tenth film to be nominated will be Wonder Woman. This will be a way for the Academy to pat themselves on the back and honor one of the biggest hits of the year featuring one of the strongest female heroines of the year. It was also directed by a woman which was an issue that came under fire and made some of the men at the Golden Globes ceremony squirm in their seats. Although it is highly unlikely that the director Patty Jenkins will earn a Best Director nomination or Gal Gadot who played the title character will receive a Best Actress nomination, it would be safe to bet that if there are ten nominees, Wonder Woman will be the tenth and final film to make the cut.
2. Get Out will ensure that there are African-American nominees in major categories.
Remember when race was the only crucial issue that Hollywood seemed to care about? That seems like a very long time ago but it was really only two years ago when the #Oscarssowhite movement took place after there were no African-Americans nominated in any of the acting categories. I wrote a whole editorial about that topic here, and last year the Academy Awards arguably overcompensated with the Oscars being too white from the year before. There were three Best Picture nominees that had predominantly African-American actors with Moonlight (which won Best Picture and deservedly so as well as Best Screenplay and Supporting Actor), Fences (which took home Best Supporting Actress for Viola Davis) and Hidden Figures (a huge hit that did not deserve to be there in the first place). At a glance most of the films that are considered front runners do not star African-Americans… except for Get Out. A little independent horror film that premiered last February and was the directorial debut of comedian Jordan Peele is now the film that is most likely to earn Oscar nominations for Best Picture and could very likely earn Best Director and Best Actor nominations for Peele and it’s lead Daniel Kaluuya. Other than Get Out the only other chances of having an African-American nominated in the acting categories would be Denzel Washington earning one for the little seen and mostly ignored Roman J. Israel Esquire or possibly Mary J. Blige for Best Supporting Actress in Mudbound. Dee Rees, an African-American female has a long shot of becoming the first black woman to receive a Best Director nomination for Mudbound, but that film still has yet to gain traction on most critics, audiences, and voters radar. Get Out will likely benefit as being one of the years biggest surprise hits and most unlikely to earn Best Picture, Actor, Director and Screenplay nominations.
3. Greta Gerwig will earn a Best Director nomination
Last night Natalie Portman got a final jab at males when at the last moment when she stated, “and here are the all male nominees for Best Director”. You could feel the temperature rise in the room and feel the uncomfortableness of the men sitting there. Later on Barbra Streisand commented how she is the only woman to win a Golden Globe for Best Director and that was back in 1984. The only woman to win the Academy Award for Best Director was Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker (2009) so both award groups are at about the same pace. As mentioned above Wonder Woman and Mudbound are both directed by women, but thus far have not gained much attention on the awards circuit to have their directors make the final five Best Director nominees. But there is one film, that was directed by a female in 2017 and has earned a plethora of critical praise and audience admiration. Lady Bird which won Best Picture (Comedy or Musical) and had its lead Saoirse Ronan win Best Actress (Comedy or Musical) was directed by a woman. Greta Gerwig is well known on the indie film scene as a terrific writer and actress and she made a confident directorial debut with Lady Bird. Somehow she did not make the final cut at the Golden Globes to a bunch of older men, however I am sure the Academy voters saw that and will look to remedy the situation once the nominees are announced in a few weeks.
4. The Academy will honor the Silence Breakers
From Seth Myers’ opening monologue, to Oprah Winfrey’s inspiring speech, to everyone in attendance dressed in black wearing the ‘Time’s Up’ pin, it was impossible to not think about the changes the movie industry is going through after the Harvey Weinstein bombshell and all of the other men accused in its aftermath. Look for the producers of this years Academy Awards to do even more to honor the Silence Breakers. If the producers are willing to get a number of the victims to appear onstage together in solidarity against the open secrets that kept them down for years, you can expect one of the loudest and longest standing ovations in recent Academy Awards history. It would be an incredible sight to see Rose McGowan, Ashley Judd, Mira Sorvino and many others united on stage wearing black and holding hands. I am not saying that this will happen but do not think for one second that the producers are not envisioning this. What a powerful site it would be to behold the women coming together publicly and standing triumphantly. If they do not get all of these women to agree, they will certainly try or at least get a few to make it to the stage and deliver a strong message. The producers will do something elaborate to honor these brave women, we will just have to wait and see what happens on Oscar night.
5. The Post will go home empty handed
This is actually upsetting to me. The Post is one of the very best films of the year and one of the best of Steven Spielberg’s long and illustrious career. In fact early on when it was announced that three of the biggest names in Hollywood were going to join forces to make a movie together people joked and said that they should just give them all of the awards. Even last night when Seth Myers mentioned The Post in his monologue he had a woman walk out on stage carrying a handful of trophies and he said “No, not yet”. It is such a front runner on paper that regardless of how spectacular the movie is, it is going to have an adverse effect on the film with voters. Look for it to earn at least five and at the most ten Oscar nominations, however with this year being more and more of the year for underdog movies and actors, as talented as Spielberg, Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep are, there will be a backlash and this movie has none of the underdog qualities that most of the other front runner movies contain. The Shape of Water, Get Out, Lady Bird, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, and Call Me By Your Name all feature actors, themes and more modest budgets that seem to have connected in special ways with critics and audiences just as much as The Post has if not more. Academy favorite Meryl Streep has received some repercussions for not speaking out against Harvey Weinstein sooner. This probably will not stop her from getting her 21st Oscar nomination but it is extremely unlikely she or anyone else from this movie will win. It is the equivalent of giving the boss an Employee of the Month award even though they deserve it. Spielberg, Hanks, Streep and everyone else involved in The Post are going to have to settle with the nomination being the win.